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Hiring a Hostess: Job Description Template

By Sherice Jacob


Hiring a hostess can be an overwhelming task, yet it’s critical for creating a welcoming atmosphere in your restaurant, event, or venue. A misstep here can lead to poor customer satisfaction and a decline in business. However, with the right strategies, you can secure a candidate that goes beyond the hostess job description – someone who’s not just competent, but exceptional—a game-changer for your business. Here’s how:

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Responsibilities & Role of a Hostess

  • Responsible for managing reservations, coordinating table assignments, and ensuring a smooth flow of guests to optimize the dining experience.
  • Plays a crucial part in managing wait times, communicating with the kitchen and waitstaff, and addressing customer concerns—essentially serving as the frontline ambassador for your brand’s service quality.

How to Hire a Hostess

Before you agonize over crafting the perfect hostess job description, take a moment to follow these steps for the best possible results. Consider things like their cultural fit and organizational skills in addition to their overall experience. 

1. Know Your Job Requirements

  • Identify Core Needs: Assess the specific requirements of your establishment—whether it’s a fast-paced environment needing quick decision-making or a fine dining setting that demands attention to detail—to determine the ideal skill set for the hostess role.
  • Volume and Traffic Patterns: Review historical data on customer flow to understand the busy and slow periods, helping you determine whether you need a full-time, part-time, or seasonal hostess.
  • Team Dynamics: Evaluate the current front-of-house team’s strengths and weaknesses to identify what qualities the new hostess should bring to complement and enhance the existing skill set.

2. Search for the Top Talent

Finding the best talent for the hostess role involves more than just posting a job ad and waiting for applications to roll in. A proactive, multi-channel approach will help you reach a wider, more qualified pool of candidates.

  • Leverage Industry Networks: Utilize contacts within the restaurant and hospitality industry to get word-of-mouth recommendations. Networking can often lead to high-quality candidates who might not be actively looking but are open to new opportunities.
  • Social Media and Job Boards: Post the vacancy on industry-specific job boards such as HCareers and Hospitality Online.
  • College and Culinary Schools: Partner with educational institutions that offer hospitality courses to tap into a young, trained talent pool. School partnerships can provide a steady inflow of qualified candidates eager to make their mark.

3. Look for Professional Qualifications

Professional qualifications for a hostess role can vary widely depending on your specific business needs and the level of service you aim to provide. However, certain qualifications can serve as strong indicators of a candidate’s skill set and potential for success.

  • Hospitality Training or Certification: Candidates who have completed courses in hospitality management or a related field come with a foundational understanding of customer service and operations.
  • Experience in a Similar Role: Prior experience in hospitality, particularly as a hostess or in a similar front-of-house role, indicates a candidate’s real-world familiarity with the responsibilities involved.
  • Computer Skills: Proficiency in reservation and point-of-sale (POS) systems can be a significant asset. Popular restaurant POS systems include TouchBistro and OpenTable.

4. Analyze Their Work Experience

When analyzing a candidate’s work experience for a hostess position, focus on the relevance and depth of their previous roles.

Look for experience in customer-facing jobs, especially in settings that match the pace and style of your establishment—be it fine dining, casual, or fast-paced. 

Evaluate their tenure in previous jobs, as a history of short stints might indicate a lack of commitment or potential issues with reliability. 

Finally, consider any roles where multitasking and organizational skills were essential, as these are key attributes for managing a busy front-of-house effectively.

5. Conduct a Comprehensive Interview Process

A comprehensive interview for a hostess position should be structured to assess both technical skills and soft skills

Start by asking situational questions that require the candidate to demonstrate their problem-solving abilities, such as how they would handle an overbooked restaurant or an irate customer. Include behavioral questions to gauge their interpersonal and communication skills, key qualities for any front-of-house role. 

Don’t overlook practical tests, like a quick role-play scenario, to see how they perform under real-world conditions. Lastly, leave room for the candidate to ask questions, as their queries can offer valuable insights into what they consider important in a job.

6. Contact Their References

When hiring a hostess, you’ll want to focus on qualities like customer service, communication skills, and multitasking. A hostess often serves as the face of your restaurant or establishment, providing the first impression to guests. References can provide valuable insights into how well a candidate might fulfill these roles.

Here are three key questions to consider asking a reference: 

  • How would you rate the candidate’s customer service skills, and can you provide specific examples?
    Customer service is crucial in the role of a hostess. Asking for specific examples allows you to gauge how well the candidate handles various situations like difficult customers, busy times, or special requests. You’re looking for instances that demonstrate patience, empathy, and a dedication to going above and beyond to make guests feel welcome.
  • How would you rate the candidate’s customer service skills, and can you provide specific examples?
    Hostesses often have to manage a waitlist, assign guests to tables, answer phone calls, and sometimes even manage a small team. Knowing how the candidate multitasks and prioritizes is important for ensuring a smooth operation.
  • How would you rate the candidate’s customer service skills, and can you provide specific examples?
    The hostess is often the liaison between the guests and the rest of the staff. You want someone who can communicate clearly and work effectively with others to manage flow and address any issues proactively. Ask for examples of how the candidate facilitated teamwork or resolved intra-staff issues.

Red Flags to Watch For During the Hiring Process

  • Difficulty Handling Stressful Scenarios: If the candidate seems easily overwhelmed or reacts poorly to hypothetical stressful situations during the interview, it might indicate that they won’t handle the real thing well. Hostesses often have to deal with unexpected problems like customer complaints, overbooking, or understaffing. A candidate who can’t demonstrate how they would handle such situations calmly and efficiently might not be a good fit.
  • Unwillingness to Work Flexible Hours: Many hostess roles, especially in restaurants, require working during evenings, weekends, and holidays. If a candidate is unwilling or unable to commit to a flexible schedule that matches the needs of your business, that’s a red flag. Make sure you discuss availability early in the hiring process.
  • Lack of Attention to Detail: The hostess is responsible for a range of duties that require keen attention to detail, from seating arrangements to managing reservations. If the candidate makes easily avoidable mistakes on their application or during the interview, or if they seem disorganized or careless when answering scenario-based questions, they might not be the best choice for a role that requires meticulousness.
  • Negative Attitude or Demeanor: Hostesses are the first people that customers encounter, so a cheerful, welcoming disposition is crucial. If a candidate seems disengaged, unenthusiastic, or even negative during the interview, consider how this attitude might affect customer experience.
  • Failure to Demonstrate Teamwork Skills: A hostess needs to work in harmony with other staff members, from servers to management to kitchen staff. If a candidate speaks negatively about past teammates or employers, or cannot provide instances where they have worked effectively as part of a team, it could be a sign that they won’t be a team player.

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Hostess Job Description

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Job Title: Hostess

Company: [Your Company Name]

Location: [Location]

Job Type: [Full Time / Part Time / Contract]

Salary: [Salary / Competitive / DOE]

About Us:

[Provide a brief description of your company, its history, values, sustainability and work environment.]

The Opportunity: 

Are you a people person with a flair for creating memorable first impressions? We’re seeking a charismatic and organized Hostess to join our esteemed restaurant team. In this role, you’ll be more than just the first point of contact—you’ll be the ambassador of our brand, setting the stage for our patrons’ dining experience. 

Responsibilities include managing reservations, orchestrating table assignments, and maintaining a smooth, well-paced flow of guests from arrival to departure. Our ideal candidate will have a strong customer service background, excellent multitasking abilities, and a genuine passion for hospitality. 

If you thrive in fast-paced environments and love connecting with people, we want to hear from you. Apply now to become a cornerstone of our service team and elevate our reputation for unforgettable hospitality.

What You’ll Do:

  • Manage and coordinate reservations using our reservation software.
  • Greet guests upon arrival and provide a warm, inviting welcome.
  • Assign guests to tables that best suit their needs while optimizing seating for the restaurant.
  • Keep track of open dining sections and tables, ensuring a smooth flow of guests.
  • Communicate with waiting guests, providing accurate wait times and managing expectations.
  • Collaborate with waitstaff and kitchen teams to ensure seamless customer service.
  • Handle customer inquiries and complaints with professionalism and tact.
  • Perform opening and closing duties, including setting up the front-of-house area and ensuring cleanliness.
  • Occasionally answer phones and provide information about our establishment, including operating hours and menu offerings.
  • Monitor the restaurant’s entrance area for cleanliness, safety, and availability of promotional materials.
  • Assist in managing the flow of deliveries and other back-of-house activities as needed.

What You’ll Bring:

  • High school diploma or equivalent educational experience.
  • At least one year of experience in a customer service role, preferably in a hospitality setting.
  • Familiarity with reservation software or point-of-sale systems.
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
  • Ability to multitask and manage time effectively.
  • Strong organizational skills with attention to detail.
  • Demonstrated ability to handle stressful situations calmly and professionally.
  • Basic computer skills, including proficiency in using email and Microsoft Office applications.
  • Flexibility to work various shifts, including weekends and holidays.
  • A positive attitude and genuine passion for providing an outstanding customer experience..
  • Physical stamina to stand and move for extended periods during shifts.

Our Ideal Candidate is Someone Who Has:

  • Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree in hospitality management or a related field, providing a foundational understanding of the industry.
  • At least two years of experience as a hostess or in a similar front-of-house role in a high-volume restaurant or dining establishment.
  • Proficiency in advanced reservation software such as OpenTable, showing the ability to manage complex seating arrangements and guest flow.
  • Demonstrated leadership skills, including experience in training and mentoring junior staff
  • Exceptional conflict-resolution abilities, with a track record of successfully mediating between dissatisfied customers and restaurant staff.
  • Experience in executing promotional or special events, showcasing an understanding of how to handle unique, high-pressure situations.
  • A strong understanding of local and state food safety and sanitation regulations.
  • Ability to speak multiple languages, enhancing the customer experience for a diverse clientele.
  • Experience in using customer feedback tools and metrics to continuously improve service quality.
  • Familiarity with inventory management and ordering supplies, highlighting an understanding of broader restaurant operations.
  • Proven ability to adapt and implement new procedures or technologies, such as mobile check-in apps or customer management systems.
  • Certifications in customer service or hospitality, indicating a commitment to professional development and industry standards.

Benefits and Perks:

  • Competitive salary and performance-based bonuses.
  • Comprehensive health, dental, and vision insurance.
  • Generous PTO and holiday schedule.
  • 401(k) with company match.
  • Tuition reimbursement.
  • Life and disability insurance.
  • A culture that prioritizes work-life balance.
  • Employee wellness programs.

How to Join Us:

Please send your resume, a cover letter detailing your qualifications, and any other supporting documents to [email address] with the subject line “Application for Hostess Position – [Your Name]”.

[Your Company Name] is committed to providing equal employment opportunities for all qualified candidates. We consider applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran status, or disability. Discrimination based on any of these factors is strictly prohibited.

Closing Date: [Insert closing date for applications]

Please note only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. Thank you for your interest in [Your Company Name].

Note: It’s important to tailor this template to your company’s specific needs and the specific role you are looking to fill. This template assumes a fairly broad role, but you may need to modify it if the role is specialized.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Hostess?

Recruitment Costs

Recruiting a hostess involves a variety of costs that can add up quickly if not carefully managed. Posting job listings on premium platforms can range from $50 to $500 depending on the site and the level of visibility you choose. 

For example, HCareers, which has over 20 years of serving the hospitality industry, costs $249 per job for a standard job, and $489 per job for a management job. This post lasts for 30 days on the HCareers job board and includes a score for each applicant so that you can better determine their suitability for the job. 

Hospitality Online, another hospitality job board, offers the ability to post a 30-day job listing for $375. It offers the ability to brand your listings and jobs are automatically shared with major job board aggregators so that your listing is seen by more potential applicants. 

Salary and Benefits

In many cases, hostesses earn an hourly wage, which could range from minimum wage to significantly higher figures in more upscale settings. Additionally, some establishments offer tips or a share of the nightly tips, which can substantially augment earnings. 

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, hostesses earn an average salary of $27,720/year

Beyond the basic salary, employers should also consider the costs of benefits like health insurance, if offered, which can add 20% to 30% to the base salary costs. Other benefits like paid time off, retirement contributions, and potential bonuses should also be factored into the overall compensation package. 

Lastly, don’t forget payroll taxes, which will add an additional 7.65% for Social Security and Medicare, plus any applicable state and local taxes. 

Beyond the monetary investment, you should consider the “opportunity cost” of having the hostess off the floor and in training instead. However, these costs should be viewed as an investment rather than an expense; a well-trained, highly skilled hostess can significantly enhance the customer experience, leading to increased customer loyalty and potentially higher revenue in the long term.

Sherice Jacob

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